The Gerard Team Blog: Twin Cities Economy, Real Estate, and Short Sales: HOPE

Twin Cities Economy, Real Estate, and Short Sales: HOPE

Twin Cities Economy, Real Estate, and Short Sales

Twin Cities Economy, Real Estate, and Short Sales


There's a lot of bad news circulating out there right now. The reality is, this economy is the new normal for the Twin Cities and the entire country... for now.

Acceptance of that doesn’t mean we give up on the future, mourn our retirement funds as lost forever, dwell on the state of the real estate market and our lost home equity, or think that we can't create a plan to get back into home ownership in a couple years if we need to do a short sale on our homes due to a hardship.

We as a community can still be successful. Lots of people find opportunity during hard times. Realtors have a great opportunity to use their knowledge to get the most money for those who still need to sell traditionally and help those who are lucky enough to be in a situation to buy. We also can choose to learn what needs to be known to handle short sales so we can help homeowners who have a hardship create a plan to get past their financial difficulty.

People outside of real estate have an opportunity too. They can learn from what is going on, reduce their expenses and in the future live with minimal debt, paying as they go instead of borrowing to buy everything. I got stuck in the debt rut too. How could we help it, banks marketed to us extensively in the 80's and 90's and changed our impression of debt! Do you think our grandparents would have accepted even $10,000 in credit card debt? The Twin Cities economy needs to be a bit different for awhile to change the mindset that 20 years of marketing created.

People in trouble have an opportunity too. "How's that?!" you ask? From a real estate perspective, people who have lost their job (or who have some other hardship) and can't pay their mortgage have an opportunity to do short sales on their homes that are worth tens of thousands less than what they owe on their mortgages. Then they can put the short sales behind them, start fresh, and get back into the real estate market again in 3 years basically at today's home prices.

People get tired of hearing clichés but they exist for a reason. There IS a silver lining in every cloud (even a cloud as dark as the current Twin Cities economy) and we as a community, both inside and outside of real estate, need to find it.

Hope is the gift we give ourselves and we then turn that hope into action. What are you prepared to do?

Comment balloon 11 commentsNate Gerard • September 23 2010 03:58PM


I'm the first in, I hope, a very long line of supporters of this post.  Learn from our mistakes, adjust to the market and keep foraging ahead. Success will come to those of us who will put this plan into action. It sounds like you already have.

I have as well.

Posted by Bristol Restoration, When you need it done right and done right now! (Bristol Restoration, Inc 661-294-1812) about 10 years ago

Thanks Jerry. I had to learn the hard way but I think despite our difficulties a positive mindset is the most productive thing we can do for ourselves. That and surrounding ourselves with people who we love and enjoy!

Posted by Nate Gerard, CDPE, East Metro Twin Cities Realtor (Keller Williams Premier) about 10 years ago


I bought in late 2006 in South Mpls, at what I thought at the time was the bottom of the dip in the real estate market. I've had to learn to accept I was wrong, and that my home would likely lose value. Family and friends asked me if I was considering refinancing, and my answer was always, No, that I had no equity in the home (especially with a zero down mortgage). I was disappointed, but since I planned on living in the home for years, figured it could be worse. At least I had a job, and we were working hard to pay down our debts. Endeavor to perservere, I always say.

Then, from the "It never hurts to ask" category, I recently called my lender and asked about a refi option. She was skeptical for all the same reasons why I hadn't made the call sooner, but agreed to look into it. Turned out, the house actually appraised above what I paid for it, and I am looking at closing on a refi next month, dropping my interest rate 1.75 percent and saving about $250 per month on the note. I was pleasantly ecstatic, but I never would have had this opportunity if I hadn't risked being disappointed and made the call.

Maybe I was smart to buy where I did, as my neighborhood seems to have held value well. Maybe I got a great deal when I bought; that's what my appraiser suggested. Or maybe I'm just lucky. But as your post indicated, getting from here to there took hope followed by action. Turned out a refi wasn't a pipe dream after all. We're not home yet; I never open the champagne until the close, but it's sure a lot jollier around our house these days.

Just one (hopefully) happy ending from a Mpls homeowner to substantiate your claims.

Posted by Rich Bailey (WolfNet Technologies) about 10 years ago

Rich, I LOVE your story! For those who haven't had to miss a payment yet there can be hope. Some areas have special options due to being stable. That is so cool, you totally made my day!

BTW, I moved to Stillwater from South Mpls and have felt their values have  held fairly strong due to the demand for the area. Congratulations!

Posted by Nate Gerard, CDPE, East Metro Twin Cities Realtor (Keller Williams Premier) about 10 years ago

Thanks for the positive spin. Too much moaning and groaning and a lot of it seems to be politically motivated. I'm tired of hearing it. No one is going to fix it for us. Each one of us has to take what we've got and move forward with it. If you can't do anything but complain, then go find another job.

Posted by Glenn Roberts (Retired) about 10 years ago

I did a post about the new "normal" in our economy as well a while back Nate.  I think this downturn, although very difficult for a lot of us, will serve as a great learning experience.  Like you said, living within your means, and paying as you go, will hopefully be the new norm.  Good post and best of luck to you.

Posted by Jerry Murphy, CRS, SRES, Anthem, Phoenix, and Scottsdale AZ Real Estate (Long Realty West Valley) about 10 years ago

Glenn, I couldn't agree more about the groaning, and you may be on to something about the politics of it all. I think negativity spreads easily unless we realize all that there is in our life to be grateful about.

Jerry, thanks and I love that term "new normal". I'll read your post with great interest.

Posted by Nate Gerard, CDPE, East Metro Twin Cities Realtor (Keller Williams Premier) about 10 years ago

To some degree, we are living a lifestyle similar to the late fifties where people not only paid cash, but enjoyed activities that were more home centered. 

Posted by Sharon Parisi, Dallas Homes (United Real Estate Dallas ) about 10 years ago

I learned my lesson early. I went to college, charged alot of things, bought a house, charged some more things. Single and choking I made a promise. Get me out and I'll never go back. I emphathize with everyone knowing the grief of living beyond your means brings to you everyday. Oh the having and charging is great, but the grief is worse.

My home has 50% equity. My truck is paid for. My husbands SUV is paid for. We have toys, paid for. We have no credit card debt. I want a new vehicle, mine is a 11 year old pick up- not the best for showing homes. I want a camper. I want to ad on a garage. I wanted to take my kids on a vacation.  I want I want I want........but I remember the grief.

My silver lining was I learned a lesson. This too shall pass and hopefully we all will be better people. Yes a new normal. My area is stable in most areas. does this mean everyone is out of the woods including me no, there still be some bad things happen.  A new normal, sounds do-able.

Posted by Sherry Chastain, Realtor, Selling Homes, Lake Properties,Luxury Homes,Short Sales (Hendersonville, Nashville, Old Hickory, Lebanon Tennessee) about 10 years ago

Learn from our mistakes is something, and learn from other countries is good, there are some other countries that they save money at the bank and then when they are ready they buy things and they don't any interest, pay interest here and there and over there it's not the way to go besides all the crisis around.

Posted by Ray Saenz, Homes for Sale in Laredo, TX - Texas, Realtor (Exit Realty Laredo) about 10 years ago

Yes, I do believe this will be the new norml and I also think it is good to start thinking that way..It permits you to start reinventing the way you operate your business and your life!  My husband and I have learned to incur as little debt as we can and our cards are paid infull every month.  We learned early on that owing money is like wearing handcuffs.

Posted by Dawn & Charlie Tetro, Real Service Real Results (PalmerHouse Properties & Associates) about 10 years ago